My two little girls are my daughters and they are also someone else's daughters. My girls have two mothers. I think of their mother every day. I look at them and I think of her. I look into their beautiful faces and I see how they look like her in the slant of their eyes, in the color of their skin, in their high cheek bones. I see her beauty glowing in them. I mourn her for them and one day I will mourn her with them. She should be raising her little girls. She should never have died. She died a completely preventable death giving birth to them two years ago. In another country, she would have lived. Maybe even if she had reached a hospital in time in the biggest near-by city she might of lived, though I doubt it. My girls were meant to be her girls. They were supposed to be giggling for her, hugging her, kissing her. She was supposed to be teaching them to speak their first words, to make fufu, to pound sombe. She was supposed to celebrate their first steps, encourage their love for music and dance, and watch them grow. They were supposed to call her mama, not me.
We have been redoing our life insurance policy lately and I have been thinking about what would happen if we both died. I hope that never happens, but if it did someone else would raise and love my kids. I would want that of course. I would want them to be loved, understood, cared for, and accepted. I also don't think I would care if they called their new guardians mama or daddy. Because honestly, that won't matter. What will matter is that they are loved. And I know that my role as their mother, as their first mother, will be special, life-giving, unique and a part of who they are. They could never forget me, their first mother, and no one could ever completely replace me either.
In the same spirit, I don't ever expect my girls to forget their first mother. And I don't think I will ever be able to replace her, nor do I want to. The woman who gave them life, who watched over them and guarded them as they grew for 8-9 months. The woman who is a part of them and them of her. She is a very important part of our lives, and always will be. I will never replace her, nor do I want to. Yes, I am their mama, but so is she, and she was first and most important because she gave them life and is a part of them. We are tied together, bonded together, her and I, in love for two little girls who were never meant to be without her and her without them.
So, I try to do things to remember her, even though they may not be aware of who she is in their lives right now. It's important to me to start the memories, the openness and acceptance now, when they are young. On their birthday, I lit a candle and let it burn all day. I would glance over at it throughout the day and think of her. Somehow, I felt her presence with us. It's a hard day and a special day. Utter pain and loss, and brilliant life. Her death, their first breath. Suffering and joy. Sacred.
Though she wasn't able to choose us to be her girls' guardians upon her death, I hope she approves. I hope she knows we love them so much and will never forget her.
In remembrance of her, my daughters' mother.